Spain calls Diego Costa back in for friendlies vs. England, Belgium
MADRID (AP) — Diego Costa is back with Spain's national team after being left out of the last two matches because of suspensions.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque summoned the striker on Friday for friendlies against England in Alicante on Nov. 13 and against Belgium in Brussels on Nov. 17.
"Diego Costa is doing well," Del Bosque said. "He has been playing a lot of minutes with his team."
The Chelsea striker had missed Spain's final two European Championship qualifiers last month. He was suspended for one of the games because of yellow cards, and at the same time was serving a three-game ban in England for violent conduct.
Del Bosque said he was not happy with Costa's suspension in England for putting his hands in the face of another player, but said at the time that he still planned to count on the striker.
The coach also called up Manuel "Nolito" Agudo, Pedro Rodriguez, Paco Alcacer and Alvaro Morata for the attack, but left out Aritz Aduriz, the 34-year-old Athletic Bilbao striker who has been in excellent form.
"Aduriz's season has been magnificent," Del Bosque said. "But we are going through a generational change and the players we brought give us more alternatives going forward."
Del Bosque said England has an "extraordinary" squad and will likely be contending for the Euro 2016 title in France. Spain is the defending European champion.
"We need to recognize that these are very important games for us," Del Bosque said of the friendlies. "We have to stay competitive and we need to take advantage of this opportunity to be together and to make the necessary adjustments."
Del Bosque also recalled defender Sergio Ramos, playmaker Andres Iniesta and midfielder Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion, who missed the final two Euro 2016 qualifiers against Luxemburg and Ukraine because of injuries.
David Silva, Dani Carvajal, Inigo Martinez and Bruno Soriano, however, have been left off because of injuries.
Sergi Roberto, playing well with Barcelona in the absence of Lionel Messi, also didn't make it.
The friendlies come just before Barcelona and Real Madrid face each other for the first time this season in the Spanish league.
Here is Spain's squad in full:
GOALKEEPERS: Iker Casillas (FC Porto), David de Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)
DEFENDERS: Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Mario Gaspar (Villarreal), Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao)
MIDFIELDERS: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Isco Alarcon (Real Madrid), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
FORWARDS: Pedro Rodriguez (Chelsea), Paco Alcacer (Valencia), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Manuel "Nolito" Agudo (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Chelsea)